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Old 07-19-2016, 07:02 PM   #15
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Thanx you Gypsy Two...appreciate your response!!! I agree with all you've said for sure. Trying to figure out that "sweet spot" between price/size/age/manufacturer and of course the history of the particular model we're looking at. Love the idea of going into it "without debt" that's huge in and of itself!!! Also agree regarding the slides...just more to go wrong. We'd be doing a fair share of boondocking and also towing a Jeep possibly. We have good friends that are FT'ers and they have a Damon Challenger 38 footer Gas! He does suggest the DP though as they don't travel out west and that's where we want to spent a lot of time. Thanx again...very much appreciated!
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:04 PM   #16
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Hello Wundertaker
We have just retired, in fact this is my first time back on IRV2 in almost a month because we have been busy packing up and selling house one. We are living in the RV for the summer and have plans to winter in Arizona next winter.
We started the retirement dream with a long term plan for 1st of all financial stability.
As far as coaches go on this site you are going to find two main groups of ARDENT believers, those with Deisel and nothing but and the Gasser's who turn turn their backs on the "Oil Burners". You will also find a number in the middle.
These are all great people who will offer advise based on their experience.
As you are probably aware both types have thier advantages, myself I prefer the gas. SInce fuel injection became standard the milage and power have improved greatly My preferance to the gas is like doing my own maintenance and for the difference in cost I can buy a lot of fuel.
As to the speed up hills unless they are really steep I dont slow down much and I tow a chevy impala. ( We are 454 powered).

Work on your buget first.
You need to know what your bugget will be. I always remeber a freind of my dad's who built a marvelous retirement home and then ended up selling because he was "house rich and cash poor".
Buy to the budget.
Live to the budget.
Enjoy what you have.
And enjoy the experience

All the best
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wundertaker View Post
PlasmaCouple...thanx so much for your post...AND...thank you for your service to our great Country!!! We in no way need to own a new coach, gas OR DP, I guess I'm just trying to find the "sweet spot" between cost/age/chance and probability of big ticket repairs! We will be FT'ing and approaching the mid 60's I guess we are looking for a few more creature comforts. A big one for me is feeling confident in my Coach that we'll safely arrive unless something totally unexpected should happen. Would certainly consider an older coach from a well know/supported quality manufacturer. Thanx so much...
I'm with plasmacouple and will add this to the list
Blue Bird Wanderlodge and Motor Coach Brokering Service 37&srt=added DESC&p=10&submit=Click to Sort&page=1

obviously I'm biased but it's BlueBird quality on a Spartan mountain master chassis (only BlueBird ever made on a supplier chassis - makes it a cheaper BlueBird with factory chassis support).

Once you step in an older high end coach you'll see/feel the quality. At least it will give you something to consider..steel sides/roof, birch wood (only plywood is over the steel subfloor below the carpet/tile). Spend your time and look at a lot of coaches (and year ranges). You'll find the sweet spot.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:59 PM   #18
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IMO find the floor plan and amenities you want or need in a coach. That will determine the fuel you will put into it.


More people change units because the floor plan does not work for them than the fuel they put in the tank.
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:11 PM   #19
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Just a notion...since you want to have flexibility for national park type limitations. Take a hard look look at tiffin breeze models. Beat them to death playing devil's advocate regarding your own thoughts, wishes, wants, musts, finances, etc. When done you should have a good benchmark to compare against.
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:45 AM   #20
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I want to Thank each and every one of you who've responded so far...the comments have been EXTREMELY HELPFUL to hear from those of you who are Livin' It!!! All great points for sure. I followed a couple links that you've attached and cannot believe how great some of the Older Coaches look...even in the Pics you can see the Quality in the build...ie: Bluebird WanderLodges...WOW!!! At this point it really appears that some of the High End Older Coach manufacturers really did put out great products...you can see it in the photos. Once again, I'm attempting to hone in on the "Sweet Spot" which is where Quality/Age/Size/Engine/and Price all come together that would end up with the Right Choice for "US"! I also realize that the "Sweet Spot" is GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US...and that's OK...should be that way! Thank you again, and PLEASE, keep those thoughts and opinions coming as they are all helpful/needed/and most of all..APPRECIATED!!!
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:27 PM   #21
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I'm with plasmacouple and will add this to the list
Blue Bird Wanderlodge and Motor Coach Brokering Service 37&srt=added DESC&p=10&submit=Click to Sort&page=1

obviously I'm biased but it's BlueBird quality on a Spartan mountain master chassis (only BlueBird ever made on a supplier chassis - makes it a cheaper BlueBird with factory chassis support).

Once you step in an older high end coach you'll see/feel the quality. At least it will give you something to consider..steel sides/roof, birch wood (only plywood is over the steel subfloor below the carpet/tile). Spend your time and look at a lot of coaches (and year ranges). You'll find the sweet spot.
Nice find! I dream of bluebirds sometimes... super cool
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:34 PM   #22
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I want to Thank each and every one of you who've responded so far...the comments have been EXTREMELY HELPFUL to hear from those of you who are Livin' It!!! All great points for sure. I followed a couple links that you've attached and cannot believe how great some of the Older Coaches look...even in the Pics you can see the Quality in the build...ie: Bluebird WanderLodges...WOW!!! At this point it really appears that some of the High End Older Coach manufacturers really did put out great products...you can see it in the photos. Once again, I'm attempting to hone in on the "Sweet Spot" which is where Quality/Age/Size/Engine/and Price all come together that would end up with the Right Choice for "US"! I also realize that the "Sweet Spot" is GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US...and that's OK...should be that way! Thank you again, and PLEASE, keep those thoughts and opinions coming as they are all helpful/needed/and most of all..APPRECIATED!!!
This depends 100% on your budget. At each budget increment, the sweet spot will change.

If your budget is 30k, we can find a sweet spot.
50k? Sweet spot.
75, 80, 90, 100, 150,.... sweet spots abound.

If you're willing to share what your budget is, that would be helpful.

In regards to your previous post, your chances of a major repair on any RV, including brand new, are higher than 50% in my opinion. I'm of the opinion that holding back some of your budget for repairs when needed is prudent.

If you said your budget was 100k, I'd suggest you buy an RV for 70k or less, holding 30k back in an emergency slush fund. If you never use it, great! If you need it, it will be there.

Repair bills on RV's can be..... distressing. You may also find yourself gremlin chasing, which can rack up the money.

Also, tires.... they are expensive on these animals and you should never run a tire older than 7 years old, even if it looks fantastic. All tires have a date code you should check prior to purchase.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:16 PM   #23
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Looking for some guidance from those of you that are "actually doing it"! I have much respect for those who are the experts and have actually "walked the talk" so I'm asking for some direction in the attempt to make some good rational and financial decisions.

My wife and I are within 3-4 years of retirement and we've decided to rid ourselves of all the "stuff" that many of us gather through one's life travels. When I actually cut the cord and walk away from the daily grind my wife and I are planning on Full-Timing in a Class "A" pulling a Toad for an unknown amount of time-God willing! I've traveled extensively by TT back in the 70's and 80's mainly in the Southeast pulling a Wilderness TT with a 3/4 ton Suburban with a thirsty but mighty 454...passed everything but a gas station! So...it's been about 30+ years since I've had to empty the beloved Black water tank and I'm guessing that a few things have changed.

My focus right now is the ever-popular "diesel vs gas" debate. I'm a born researcher and will beat the proverbial Internet horse to death in my attempt to "make the right decision"...which usually goes fairly well although certainly "not perfect"!

I have to be honest and say that I've been trying to "convince myself/talk myself" into a Gas Coach, for financial reasons, in the 35 foot range as I want to stay in that size range to access as many National Parks West of the Mississippi as possible. As hard as I try, with everything I hear/read/see, it "always seems to bring me around full-circle to the MIGHTY DIESEL"!!! In addition, I do seem to follow the ol' Tim Taylor adage from the old TV show "Tool Time" by always enjoying "MORE POWER"!!!

My finances are more or less flexible in that I'm comfortable with the Entry to Mid-Level price ranges of Diesels Pushers, and my wife, although initially shocked by the up front cost, is now more pro Diesel than the more affordable Gas Coaches. My research thus far has led me to the Winnebago Forza 34T and similar models by other leading manufacturers.

Our focus with be traveling throughout the Western part of our great country and want to be able to access all of our National Parks regardless of elevation. Most of all, "I don't want to worry/stress as to whether I'll have "enough power" to get us there comfortably and safely.

I would sincerely like to have some of your experienced input on this subject so somewhere down the road "I may assist someone also who may have the same concerns/questions ten years from now". I'm a firm believer in that "NONE OF US IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US"!!!

Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to offer...
When I first read your post, I knew this would be one I will be following. Your story has a lot of similarities to ours. My wife and I are in our late 40s with no kids except our dog Casey. Getting an RV was not on our radar at all, but a couple things happened to steer us this way. First, we have been wanting to downsize our house and our life. My wife was wanting to go so far as a "tiny" house, but I figured if I'm going to live in a tiny house, why not live in one that I can travel in because we both love to travel. We've traveled Europe, Australia, South America, but ironically very little of the U.S. Then a light bulb hit when I read an article about an RV full timer. One sentence struck a nerve that I'll paraphrase: "If we don't like where we're at, or our neighbors, we can just drive off to the next town and next adventure." So I thought, we can go small AND travel all at the same time.

Next very major hurdle was money. People were wanting to buy our house (in Florida) and we didn't even have it on the market. We decided to officially put it on the market and see what happens. We got offers and sold it (closing next week technically). With some of that money, we bought an RV. I made a long rambling post a week or so ago about my worries but we feel good about our decision. My goal was to pay cash like others have suggested, but then realized that financially it made more sense to get a 20 year loan, with low payments, and pay principal as we go so that we don't get too far underwater. So we ended up putting half down and financing the rest. I get why many say pay cash and I don't disagree. It's just that for our situation, we figured worst case scenario, we can make the low payments work. At the same time, we were able to get into a 2013 Fleetwood Expedition 36M DP at what we feel was a pretty good price. So our size goals were also pretty similar to yours.

So once we figured we could make the payments and deal with maintenance issues and live without major fear, our next step was how to support ourselves while on the road. I wish we were techies, or had one of those jobs that you can do anywhere right now, but alas that's not the case. My wife's job pays a respectable middle class wage. I'm self employed but I can't take my business on the road. Of course, all our friends and family are freaking out on our behalf wondering how we're going to do it. Frankly, the simple answer is we'll find a way. We're looking past the unknown and just going to enjoy ourselves. We realize that at our age, we can't just not work, but the thought of "full-timing" it at our age sounded better than waiting until we were in our 70s and less able to enjoy it (no disrespect meant to anyone, since I can't even keep up with my 80 year old father). We want to live life like it's our last day on earth, because you never know. We also know eventually that we can't full time it forever (or can we?), and we will have to come back to a home base and work. However, for now (actually 9-12 months from now after we get our lives sorted before leaving), we are going to be gypsies and loving it. I know you're a couple years away from that, but just wanted to share our similar feelings and experience so that hopefully you can make the jump sooner rather than later. As for ourselves, while we are totally new to this, having forums like this, gives us confidence that while we are sure to hit speed bumps, we're also sure we have forum friends here to help.
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:55 PM   #24
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Three years ago we started out with a very low mileage Gas 31' Class A as an evaluation of "will we like it, will it fit our needs".

After 3 years and some real good trips, we decided to sell the gasser and purchase a 35' DP.

We just returned from a western trip, 14 states, 6 National Parks and 4 National Monuments. I drove the 35' DP through the Badlands NP, Canyonland NP, and Arches NP. We were totally satisfied with the performance and maneuverability of the MH. I do have 53 years experience driving large vehicles and never found a situation I could not maneuver around or through. Even the people stopping their cars near the edge of the narrow road to throw open the door to jump out and take a picture of the mountain goat standing on a rock!

The quietness of the rear engine, the power, the airbag ride are all a big plus.

There are some steep passes on I-90 and I had no difficulty maintaining a safe speed up and down those 6% curvy grades.

Either a gas or diesel will do the job and each have their advantages (I just cannot think of one for a gasser ).

Buy right and enjoy. Go West young man!
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:15 PM   #25
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IMO find the floor plan and amenities you want or need in a coach. That will determine the fuel you will put into it.

More people change units because the floor plan does not work for them than the fuel they put in the tank.
I have heard this before but don't agree with it. I think getting a quality, good built RV is much more important than zeroing in on a floorplan first and then choosing a RV to go with it.

A floorplan is no good if the RV falls apart.

Every manufacturer has a floorplan that will work for you. It doesn't have to be perfect. None of our stick-built homes were absolutely perfect.

Folks that we know changed RVs for other reasons than a floorplan - size, type, problems, etc.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:56 AM   #26
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I have heard this before but don't agree with it. I think getting a quality, good built RV is much more important than zeroing in on a floorplan first and then choosing a RV to go with it.

A floorplan is no good if the RV falls apart.

Every manufacturer has a floorplan that will work for you. It doesn't have to be perfect. None of our stick-built homes were absolutely perfect.

Folks that we know changed RVs for other reasons than a floorplan - size, type, problems, etc.
We can agree to disagree. If you read the forum carefully you will note there are many who have made several model changes staying with the same manufacturer and same fuel.

We looked at all of the major manufacturers while searching. While floorplans are similar there are differences that are significant enough to become an issue over time (for us anyway). We are spending too much to just "make do". If you find one that is not perfect and another that is closer why not purchase the one that is closer to your needs or desires?

There are some who change because of issues but if you look at numbers you will/should observe that the failure rate for RV manufacturers is likely very similar across all brands. For example Newmar builds about the same number of motorhomes per year as Entegra built in the first four years. Winnebago was building 200 per week, Thor even more. Read the forum and you can see the failure rates are likely close.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:37 PM   #27
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We looked at all of the major manufacturers while searching. While floorplans are similar there are differences that are significant enough to become an issue over time (for us anyway). We are spending too much to just "make do". If you find one that is not perfect and another that is closer why not purchase the one that is closer to your needs or desires?
I guess our way of thinking is if you found your dream floorplan in a Thor and one that was close in a Newmar, why would you choose a Thor just to get the exact floorplan you want? That's what we don't understand - floorplan over manufacturer quality. Everyone surely is different and that's fine.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:09 AM   #28
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As someone with a Thor who has been looking at a Newmar, they are not the same build quality.
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